Beer and wine are the two most popular non-distilled alcoholic beverages globally. While both are produced by fermentation, they contain different concentrations of alcohol. So, how many beers equal a bottle of wine in terms of alcohol content?
Depending on the beer and wine being consumed, it takes drinking between five and eight beers to equal the alcohol content of one bottle of wine.
This article will explore how many beers it takes to equal one bottle of wine. It will compare lite beer, dark beer, and malt liquor to red wine, white wine, and sparkling wine/champagne.
WARNING: This article will involve the use of MATH. If math makes you uncomfortable, please do not read any further. Furthermore, the math will be performed using the metric system. Don’t worry, I’ll make it easy!
Alcoholic Drink Sizes and Definition
For this article, the following service sizes will be used:
- “One beer” will equal a 12 fl oz (354.88 ml) bottle. In metric, that is 355 ml (12.00 fl oz). This is the most common beer serving size in the American market.
- “One bottle of wine” will equal the most standard bottle size, which is 750 ml (25.36 fl oz).
- “ABV” stands for “alcohol by volume.”
Alcoholic Content of Different Beers and Wines
The alcoholic beverages used for this article were selected according to sales estimates when available, and reviews when not.
The term “light/lite beer” does not refer to the calorie content of the beer but the color and flavor. Lite beers have a brighter, more yellow color and a less flavorful, more watery taste.
For reasons unknown to the writer of this article, Bud Light is not only the most consumed light beer in America but the most consumed beer overall. Due to its popularity, Bud Light will represent lite beer in this article. The Belgian-owned Anheuser-Busch produces Bud Light.
Bud Light has an alcohol volume of 4.2%.
Contrary to popular belief, dark beers do not typically contain more alcohol than lite beers. Dark beer also does not have a significantly higher calorie content. It simply has a darker color and more flavor.
Representing dark beer in this article is Guinness, which is produced by the London-based Diageo PLC, a multinational alcoholic beverage conglomerate.
Guinness has an ABV of 4.3%.
For this article, malt liquor will be considered a type of beer. It is a bottom-fermented drink made of malted (germinated) barely, or in other words, a “lager.”
The only real difference between it and standard drinks sold as “regular beer” is the higher alcohol content, usually between 5% and 9%.
Representing malt liquor in this article is Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor. Mickey’s is one of the best-selling drinks in its niche and is available in 12 fl oz (354.88 ml) servings and the traditional 40 fl oz (1182.94 ml). Mickey’s is produced by the Miller Brewing Company.
Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor has an ABV of 5.6%, which is on the lower end of malt liquors.
White wine is produced by fermenting white grapes. Only the flesh of the grapes is used, with the skins and seeds removed. White wine typically has a lower alcohol content than red or sparkling wine.
Representing white wine in this article is one of the best sellers worldwide, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, a product of the Marlborough region of New Zealand. This wine sells for between $11 and $16 per 750 ml (25.36 fl oz) bottle, depending on the year and liquor store.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc has an ABV of 13%, which is high for white wines.
Red wine is produced by fermenting whole mashed red grapes, with the skins and seeds added to the must. They typically have a fruitier flavor and more alcohol units than white wines.
The most popular type of red wine worldwide is Cabernet Sauvignons.
Representing red wine in this article is O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon, produced in Napa Valley, California. Depending on the year and liquor store, O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon sells for between $75 and $125 per 750 ml (25.36 fl oz) bottle.
O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon has an ABV of 14.8%.
“Sparkling wines” are a broad family of carbonated wines, including prosecco, rose’, and champagne. The carbonation either comes from fermentation or is artificially added from a carbon dioxide tank.
Sparkling wines typically have ABV between 9% and 15%.
By a wide margin, the best-selling sparkling wine in America is La Marca Prosecco, a product of Italy. La Marca specializes in prosecco but grows grapes for small quantities of conventional wine. This wine costs between $10 and $20 per 750 ml (25.36 fl oz) bottle.
La Marca Prosecco has an ABV of 11%.
Table of Alcohol Content
This table shows the amount of alcohol in each bottle of the aforementioned alcoholic bottles. The amount of alcohol per bottle was calculated by multiplying the bottle size by the decimal form of the abv.
|Brand||Bottle Size (ml)||ABV (%)||ABV (decimal)||Alcohol Per Bottle (ml)|
Beer vs. Wine
Fittingly, the most alcoholic beer in this selection is Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor, while the least is Bud Light. The most alcoholic wine is O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon, and the least is La Marca Prosecco.
One 750 ml (25.36 fl oz) bottle of O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon has 111 ml (3.75 fl oz) of alcohol, while one 355 ml (12.00 fl oz) bottle of Bud Light has just 14.91 ml (0.50 fl oz) of alcohol.
Dividing 111 by 14.91 gives an answer of 7.44. This means that to get the same amount of alcohol in one bottle of O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon, you need to drink eight bottles of Bud Light.
One 750 ml (25.36 fl oz) bottle of La Marca has 82.5 (2.78 fl oz) ml of alcohol, while one 355 ml (12.00 fl oz) bottle of Mickey’s has 19.88 ml (0.67 fl oz) of alcohol.
Dividing 82.5 by 19.88 gives an answer of 4.15 bottles of Mickey’s to equal a bottle of La Marca.
Assuming you don’t leave a bottle of beer unfinished, you need to drink just five bottles of Mickie’s to equal the alcohol from a single bottle of La Marca Prosecco.
Average Number of Beers Per Bottle of Wine
In order to get a clearer example, I’ve taken the average of the alcohol in the three bottles of beer and the three bottles of wine in the examples above.
|Average alcohol per bottle of beer (ml)||Average alcohol per bottle of wine (ml)||Bottles of beer needed to |
= 1 bottle of wine
So as you can see from the table above, on average you will need to drink 5.81 (12 fluid ounce) beers to equal the amount of alcohol in a standard (25.36 fluid ounce) bottle of wine.
Or said another way, if you consume a bottle of wine by yourself, you’ve just consumed an amount equivalent to almost 6 standard beers.
Wine has a lot more alcohol than beer. A single bottle of even the weakest popular wine has more alcohol than four bottles of the most popular lite beer.